“In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only prohibited word?” ― Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths. Despite impressions to the contrary, the World Cup was not the only strong chess event taking place this past week or so.
I present a small selection of games that caught my fancy. Enjoy!
The following game was played in the 3rd round of the European Senior Team Championships held between the 17th and 27th of September in Croatia. I find this game very surprising, not just because it is all over in a mere 23 moves, but because — had we not known that it was between two players who were strong grandmasters in their youth — we might have instead thought that it was played between two beginners!
Shcherbakov (Russia) played like a young Tal, sacrificing several pawns against an ‘eager to take everything in his path’ Kurajica. Before he knew what happened, the Black King quickly found himself the target of a mating attack. Kurajica resigned when the only way to defend was to give his queen.
gm Shcherbakov,R – gm Kurajica,B European Senior Tch 20.9.2019 1-0
The following game is also from the 3rd round of the European Senior Team Championships in Croatia. The game features a popular line of the Caro Kann where Black provokes White and then ends up regretting have done so.
I don’t really know where Black went wrong…perhaps the entire line for Black is inferior? Really? Can so many players be wrong…perhaps.
Sometimes the truth is a painful lesson.
gm Sveshnikov,E – Kierzek,M (2200) European Senior Tch 20.9.2019 1-0
The following game was played at the Spanish Team Championships in Melilla over the weekend. Featuring two very strong grandmasters, we witness the exact same variation of the Caro Kann as in the previous game, with the same result except two moves less!
Sometimes style in chess is so difficult to fathom. Bacrot plays the same plan as Sveshnikov employed. I would love to be able to ask Edouardo what he thinks of this variation today (I also play the Caro Kann) but sometimes it is just better to be a spectator and kibitz from the peanut gallery!